2005 Consulting Recruiters MBA Chat

2005 Consulting Recruiters MBA Chat

Please feel free to let us know if you would like to be informed of future chats by sending e-mail to chat@accepted.com. We would also be interested in knowing if you would prefer a different format or different topics.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 10:43:08 AM)
Accepted.com and the Michigan Ross School of Business, represented by Al Cotrone, Director of the Office of Career Development, would like to welcome all of you to this online chat, "Talent Seekers Speak: Why We Value the MBA." We want to extend special thanks to the very busy recruiters who have joined us today:

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 10:43:22 AM)
Shamik Jani of Bain; Jeff Phillips of Booz, Allen, Hamilton; Brent Beardsley of Boston Consulting Group; and Kathryn Rado of Deloitte Consulting.

BrentBeardsleyBCG (Sep 21, 2005 10:43:39 AM)
You're welcome, glad we could help.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 10:44:28 AM)
Welcome and thank you for joining us.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 10:44:41 AM)
What qualities do you value in MBA grads?

BrentBeardsleyBCG (Sep 21, 2005 10:45:21 AM)
We look for 3 things - analytic skills, communication / presence skills and leadership skills.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 10:45:47 AM)
Brent, in that order of importance?

JeffPhillipsBAH (Sep 21, 2005 10:45:54 AM)
I would echo those as well. In addition, we would like to see strong teamwork and interpersonal skills.

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 10:45:57 AM)
We look for demonstrated record of achievement, raw talent, and strong quantitative skills.

BrentBeardsleyBCG (Sep 21, 2005 10:46:15 AM)
Not necessarily in that order, I think the entire package needs to be there.

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 10:46:24 AM)

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 10:46:34 AM)
How does a job candidate demonstrate those qualities?

ShamikJaniBain (Sep 21, 2005 10:46:39 AM)
Same thing at Bain. I would say that most companies in general, not only consulting, are looking for these skills.

BrentBeardsleyBCG (Sep 21, 2005 10:47:28 AM)
Linda, the case interview process is important, which allows for insight into a candidate analytic and communication skills.

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 10:47:49 AM)
We can see these qualities in what they've done in their career to date - no matter what the job was. You can see these achievements in an unstructured environment.

JeffPhillipsBAH (Sep 21, 2005 10:48:12 AM)
In addition, we can see different qualities through their resume and interactions with consulting firms at recruiting events.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 10:48:26 AM)
Business schools have been criticized for being too academic and producing graduates who are not really ready to start working. Do you agree or disagree and why?

ShamikJaniBain (Sep 21, 2005 10:49:25 AM)
I would disagree, because during my training at Bain and my summer internship, I often times found myself using concepts and ideas learned in B-School.

BrentBeardsleyBCG (Sep 21, 2005 10:49:48 AM)
I would disagree, I haven't experienced that. However, we do conduct a significant amount of training for new hires.

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 10:50:04 AM)
Disagree - The education is very important, but more important is what you do with it.

JeffPhillipsBAH (Sep 21, 2005 10:50:04 AM)
Disagree. Most MBA students have 5+ years of experience, so they know what it means to "work". The MBA expands their points of view, provides new skills they can utilize. There will be some learning curve for "career switchers."

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 10:50:35 AM)
Others have criticized b-schools for being too much like trade schools and not supplying graduates with an intellectually rigorous analytical framework. Do you agree or disagree and why?

JeffPhillipsBAH (Sep 21, 2005 10:51:57 AM)
This could be a self-selection disagreement because most students who apply to and get hired by consulting firms have good analytical capabilities they have learned from b-school (or prior work).

BrentBeardsleyBCG (Sep 21, 2005 10:52:01 AM)
Disagree again. The level of intellectual rigor and thinking that goes into a recent grads thinking is very good - if anything, the tendency is toward being too tied to frameworks.

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 10:52:43 AM)
I agree with Brent - There intellectual rigor is evident during case interviews - when students try and force their answers into frameworks.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 10:54:12 AM)
Many top schools are now encouraging early-career applicants to apply and attend business school even if they lack at least two years of full-time experience. What do you think of this trend? Are years of full-time experience important to you in recruiting?

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 10:55:06 AM)
I personally found it very helpful to have 5 years of work experience/examples to "test" what I was learning at b-school.

BrentBeardsleyBCG (Sep 21, 2005 10:55:25 AM)
I like to have someone with a few years of "real-world" experience - allows you to see examples of leadership and getting things done. Working for a few more years improves the maturity of the individual.

ShamikJaniBain (Sep 21, 2005 10:55:35 AM)
There are definitely exceptions, but I think that less than 2 years is not long enough to gain business maturity and enough real world experience.

JeffPhillipsBAH (Sep 21, 2005 10:55:47 AM)
I think quality of prior work experience is what counts versus a distinct length of time. That being said, it can be difficult to get crucial experience in only a year or two.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 10:56:05 AM)
Let's open this up to your questions.

AlCotroneRoss (Sep 21, 2005 10:56:23 AM)
Also - I think we have to keep in mind that, at some point, the firms would no longer be able to justify the current compensation if the experience got too low.

Kimberly (Sep 21, 2005 10:56:49 AM)
What do you feel the hiring trends might look like over the next few years? Do you feel consulting overall is a growing field?

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 10:57:00 AM)
Very strong.

BrentBeardsleyBCG (Sep 21, 2005 10:57:10 AM)
We are definitely looking to hire more people every year.

ShamikJaniBain (Sep 21, 2005 10:57:23 AM)
Same for us.

JeffPhillipsBAH (Sep 21, 2005 10:57:24 AM)
Same answer as Kathryn and Brent.

suziewong (Sep 21, 2005 10:57:24 AM)
Can you elaborate on what elements within analytic skills you are referring to?

BrentBeardsleyBCG (Sep 21, 2005 10:58:33 AM)
The technical ability to do the work is important, but more important is the ability to focus on the key issues and address those issues in a quantitative manner, not qualitatively.

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 10:58:40 AM)
Strong quantitative is a must.

JeffPhillipsBAH (Sep 21, 2005 10:59:06 AM)
Breaking down a business problem into distinct pieces and then having an ability to understand what are the underlying drivers are, and then quantitatively attacking them.

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 10:59:14 AM)
It's the ability to take apart a problem and solve it.

cdnashville (Sep 21, 2005 10:59:30 AM)
Kathryn, you mentioned that it didn’t matter what the candidate’s job was before their MBA program. What can a career-changer do to prepare themselves to be a strong applicant to consulting firms? Is an internship in consulting considered enough experience?

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 11:00:27 AM)
cd, look at the attributes of success in consulting (those that we are talking about) and then put together strong examples of you demonstrating these qualities from your work experience - or even from other arenas. Qualities like leadership, teamwork, and problem solving. You also have to demonstrate how you were the BEST at what you did.

BrentBeardsleyBCG (Sep 21, 2005 11:01:07 AM)
It really doesn't matter what specific field of work you did pre-MBA.

JeffPhillipsBAH (Sep 21, 2005 11:01:14 AM)
Have a track-record of driving change at prior employers. Be able to demonstrate your analytical abilities. If you have these (not an exhaustive list) an internship is enough.

ShamikJaniBain (Sep 21, 2005 11:01:19 AM)
cd, also look towards leadership opportunities at school or specific classes to improve on quant ability.

jeremy sobo (Sep 21, 2005 11:01:48 AM)
In addition to the core values attained at many schools, what concentrations of electives are consulting companies looking for?

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 11:02:22 AM)
We are looking for anything that makes you "well rounded." You have to be able to "hit the ground running" - from day 1.

BrentBeardsleyBCG (Sep 21, 2005 11:02:23 AM)
We are looking for all rounded individual - you will be thrown into a lot of different situations, so work to build out your entire skill set.

JeffPhillipsBAH (Sep 21, 2005 11:02:53 AM)
For a general management consulting firm we look for a broad base of knowledge.

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 11:03:42 AM)
Having depth in an industry - e.g. healthcare is also attractive.

wheresmymba? (Sep 21, 2005 11:03:45 AM)
Some prospective MBA applicants are currently in consulting. Since consultants tend to encompass broad skill sets, how does previous consulting experience, compounded with an MBA reflect to recruiters?

AlCotroneRoss (Sep 21, 2005 11:04:04 AM)
How often and how deeply do you look at the specific electives that a student takes? Is it a matter of the overall education and experience, or do you get to the level of specific detailed courses taken?

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 11:04:34 AM)
We look at grades in specific classes - but otherwise overall education.

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 11:05:05 AM)
Electives like change, leadership, etc. are always advantages in consulting - because all we do is cause change.

ShamikJaniBain (Sep 21, 2005 11:05:13 AM)
When I interviewed for a summer position 2 years ago, almost all of the firms asked for grades or a transcript.

BrentBeardsleyBCG (Sep 21, 2005 11:05:16 AM)
It depends on the experience and how it is relevant to what we current need, e.g., an IT consulting background might be different than a different type of consulting background.

JeffPhillipsBAH (Sep 21, 2005 11:06:01 AM)
We look at grades and overall experience. Previous consulting experience can be applicable as Brent mentioned.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:06:18 AM)
How do you fell about grade non-disclosure or pass/not-pass classes?

BrentBeardsleyBCG (Sep 21, 2005 11:06:57 AM)
We like to use grades as a piece of the overall picture of the candidate.

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 11:07:03 AM)
Grades are only one element of the "package" but, are important - we also look at test scores.

KevinM (Sep 21, 2005 11:07:26 AM)
How do you differentiate consulting backgrounds? Accenture is large and diversified, for example. Do you group that experience all under 'IT Consulting'?

JeffPhillipsBAH (Sep 21, 2005 11:07:26 AM)
If available, we'll use gauge as one aspect of how we rate a candidate.

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 11:07:53 AM)
What is important is SPECIFICALLY what you did at any consulting firm.

JeffPhillipsBAH (Sep 21, 2005 11:08:01 AM)
We'll review your resume to get an understanding of what you've done and where your strengths may be.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:08:05 AM)
Do you value more experience in "blue-chip" or Fortune 500 firms or will you also consider those who have worked in smaller firms?

ShamikJaniBain (Sep 21, 2005 11:08:27 AM)
Size of the company is not as important as the quality of your work.

BrentBeardsleyBCG (Sep 21, 2005 11:08:35 AM)
The specific company is less important that WHAT you did there.

JeffPhillipsBAH (Sep 21, 2005 11:08:38 AM)
The quality of your experience is what counts.

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 11:08:43 AM)

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:10:05 AM)
Thanks again to Shamik, Brent, Jeff, and Kathryn, and to all of you for your participation. Last but not least, I want to acknowledge the critical role played by the Michigan Ross staff. Thank you for your vital help in putting this event together. And congratulations on your WSJ ranking!

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:10:13 AM)
Applicants, if you would like more information about Michigan Ross' top-ranked program (#2 in the WSJ recruiter survey this year!), please visit http://www.bus.umich.edu/Admissions/ .

BrentBeardsleyBCG (Sep 21, 2005 11:10:30 AM)
Thanks and good luck.

KathrynRadoDeloitte (Sep 21, 2005 11:10:40 AM)
Thank you.

JeffPhillipsBAH (Sep 21, 2005 11:10:43 AM)
Thanks, good luck in your MBA programs.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:11:00 AM)
Good luck with your applications!